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Highlights of comScores 2010 Online Auto Insurance Report

By Jeff Yates, ACT Executive Director

I. ComScores Sample

The survey includes only online consumers (referred to as “consumers” below and throughout the survey). ComScore passively observes a panel of one million U.S. consumers and specifically surveyed 2000 online consumers in February and March, 2010.

II. Online Shopping

  • 72% of consumers have used the Internet to find auto insurance information at some time.
  • 71% who see an ad and want to learn more, go online to the referenced website, a search engine or to find an agent.
  • 52% of consumers shopped auto insurance in 2008, whether online or off line and 39% of those switched insurers.
  • 50% of online insurance shoppers are under 35.
  • 44% of online shoppers are on the Internet 20+ hours a week.
  • 21% said they are more likely to shop for insurance due to the current economy (up 3 percentage points from prior year).
    • 44% of consumers said they are happy with current company and are unlikely to consider changing (down from 50% 3 years ago).

III. Online Quoting

  • 67% of those who shopped for auto insurance in the past year went online to get a quote (up 4%), while 22% went to a multiple carrier agent to get a quote (down 3%) and 22% went to a single company agent (down 4%).
  • 38.8 million quotes were submitted online in 2009, a 21% increase from 2008. (Online quotes had actually gone down 1% in 2008).
  • 73 million quotes were started online in 2009 (about 50-55% of these quotes were completed). (Source- comScore webinar, May 6, 2010).
    • 83% of online quotes were from insurer sites and 17% were from aggregators (including online agents and lead generators). See page 7 of survey for percentage of online quotes by carrier.

IV. Online Purchases

  • 2.8 million auto insurance policies were purchased online in 2009, up 22% from 2008.
  • 23% of 18-24 year old shoppers purchased their policies online versus 9% of those 55+.
  • 22% of online quotes were taken to online policy purchase initiation in 2009 (up 2 percentage points).
  • 78% of consumers who have received an online quote at some time said they have made a purchase offline soon thereafter. 59% of these offline purchasers have bought from a local agent in person, 35% have bought from an agent on the phone, and 27% have bought over a toll free number.
  • 63% of consumers said they originally purchased their auto policy with a local agent (down from 68% in 2008). 45% buying from an agent bought in person and 18% bought from the agent over the phone.
    • 17% of consumers said they originally purchased their auto policy online (up from 15% in 2008) and 15% said they originally bought over a toll free number (up from 13% in 2008). However, if the consumer has had the policy less than a year, the percentage who bought online jumps to 26%.

V. Changing Perceptions of Buying Online

  • 35% of those who haven’t purchased auto insurance online to-date say they are likely to do so in the future (up 7 percentage points from prior year).
  • The number one reason given by those who are unlikely to purchase online is because they want to speak to or meet with a person (66%; but this is down 5 percentage points from the prior year).
  • Fewer consumers are indicating resistance to online purchases because of a reluctance to provide personal information on a website.
    • Providing a discount would be the biggest incentive to encourage reluctant online purchasers to purchase online, followed by guaranteed website security.

VI. Consumer Buying Habits

  • 49% of purchasers of auto insurance said price was the most important factor (62% of online purchasers compared to 45% of those who purchased through an agent).
  • The survey provides good information on the reasons why consumers chose to buy through an agent (top four-wanted real person; have always used an agent; wanted local agent from one company who could help with all insurance needs; agent quoted best price) (p. 29).
  • The survey also provides good information on why consumers chose not to go through an agent (top four- convenience; speed; started with a toll number and wanted to finish by that method; prefer website or toll free number) (p.30).
  • The survey provides a ranking of factors that would cause consumers to consider changing companies (p. 31); and the coverage features consumers are willing to pay for (pp.36-37).

VII. Changing Processes

  • 82% of online auto insurance purchasers completed all forms online (21% of phone purchasers were referred to website to complete forms).
  • Over the last three years, the percentage of consumers getting their bill or payment reminder through the mail has declined to 64% from 70%. The percentage getting their bill by email has increased to 31% (up 4 points), and 24% of those still getting their bill by mail would like to get it by email. 4% of consumers get their bill or payment reminder by text message (up from 2%).
  • 34% of consumers pay their bills online through a bank site or carrier site.
    • Mobile apps are being used primarily for reviewing payment balances & bills, filing claims and providing claims information. (Source: comScore webinar, May 6, 2010)
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